Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Vietnamese market

Vietnam is a rapidly developing economy of 97 million people; it is making strides into the international marketplace and is one of the only two countries in 10-member ASEAN region to have signed and implemented a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

If you are considering doing business in Vietnam, please be sure to explore our tips to enter the market below and also be sure to reach out to our dedicated team.

  • Flexibility to visit the market as face-to-face meetings are highly recommended. It is extremely difficult to conduct business virtually as business is primarily done over a handshake, having coffee or dinner.
  • Negotiations in Vietnam’s business setting are time-consuming: things take time and require patience. You will need to go through several business meetings before inking a deal. Decisions are usually thought through carefully and every stakeholder is consulted before a decision is reached.
  • Relationship-based business culture. The relationship is key in Vietnam; one good connection can often go a very long way. Always invest time in building a good relationship based on both personal and business lines.
  • It is preferable to establish new business contacts via an introduction from Enterprise Ireland and subsequently set up a business meeting face-to-face. The Vietnamese prefer to do business with people that they know, and businesses are not likely to answer impromptu phone calls or emails.
  • Vietnamese businesses tend to favour tailored, flexible deals rather than firmly standardised arrangements as a way of showing a long-term commitment, so be prepared to navigate through the discussion process.
  • Regulations and laws – although the country is undergoing huge economic transformation, bureaucracy and lack of transparency of regulations remain common. Recurring theme: doing business in Vietnam requires patience. However, as Vietnam becomes more and more attractive to international businesses and FDIs, infrastructure has been put in place to ease such difficulties. Irish companies can expect further improvements in doing business in Vietnam.
  • Having a local partner – with all the above said, having a trustworthy local partner (whether a legal partner or business partner) is encouraged; it can save you a lot of headaches.
  • EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement has come into effect in August 2020. This has opened doors for Irish companies exporting to the country, particularly in the sector of Healthcare (Pharmaceuticals, Hospital Supplies) and Agricultural products with preferable tax exemptions.
  • Do note that Vietnam joined the global marketplace with the trade embargo lifted only in 1994. This means that Vietnamese businesses are very eager to learn about cutting edge software, technology and secrets to success from international firms.
  • Being a developing market means that there are many opportunities to tap into, with much less saturated sectors compared to developed countries. It is useful to do market intelligence to understand the market structure and identify competitors/already-established giants in the market beforehand.


Enterprise Ireland is committed to helping Irish firms succeed in global markets and have industry experts on hand, ready to help you access the Vietnamese market. Our Market Advisors are always available to support you and provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.

For more, download our Going Global Guide


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